Friday 31 July 2015

Frugal Friday #10 - Maritime gallery

It's our 10th Frugal Friday post. And yes, it's looking like our final till the motivation comes on again. We will defnitely continue our hunt interestingly. 

This series isn't exactly demanding, but we do have other agendas for accomplishment too. I hope the its has in a way or another been informative to you and your family. If you've noticed, I had really wanted this series to run indoor, just so we can escape the tormenting heat from the outdoor. Great for the sun allergic people like me. 

Our 10th journey brought us to the Maritime gallery, which was officially opened in 2012. We know Singapore is a very busy port for its strategic location and here's where we learned how it transformed into one of the World's leading International Maritime Centres.

All set to sail
We were welcomed by a little crafty gift at its reception before we began our maritime journey. In the first area we entered, an overview video of the maritime industry was supposed to be shown, but it seemed to be on medical leave that day. There was no video for viewing. 

We walked through exhibits and interactive displays of how the Maritime brings us our daily necessities like rice, oil and medical supplies. Learned about our strategic position along the global trade routes. I like how thoughtful the place is by stationing stools at the higher levelled displays for little kids to access.

Interactive connectivity table

We cruised through the milestones in Singapore's transformation from a simple fishing village into a major port and International Maritime Centre. Along the way, Jare was very attracted by the various ship models. And one that he could remember vividly was the cruise liner, which he knew he had much experience of fun on it during vacation. This boy somehow recollect fun memories more quickly than academic memories. 

Much memories in a cruise liner

We learned how Singapore stays at the forefront of technological innovations to be a major hub port in the world in midst of buzzing with activities around the clock. We read that at any one time, there are some one thousand ships in port, with one entering or leaving every minute. It was a good chance to know what keeps the world's busiest port running. 

The Ship bridge Simulator attracted Js to get into the role of a ship captain. With help from the man, they got their hands on to steer the different types of vessels in our port waters. It was like the real thing and interestingly fun. There's so much technologies used to manage traffic in this busiest port.

Ship Bridge Simulator

The gallery is a great place to introduce insights about the Maritime industry, a great place for students who are in midst of choosing this career path. The various roles in the industry were explicitly exhibited. Js were a little too young to comprehend the heavy taxed information, but I'm glad it wasn't exactly a redundant trip too.

There were simple terms which we've picked out for Js to comprehend. We talked about the parts of a ship, the anchor, hull, the bow which refers to the front part of the ship and beam being a term referred to the width of the ship. At least we've some new knowledge for takeaway.

We continued our water journey and entered the lookout area which I thought was really cool. All of us had a go on its binoculars. This excited Jazz as she saw how magnified the afar ships were.

Lookout area

The final part was most definitely the kids' highlight, where they had some free play at its specially designed 'Fun at Sea' children's corner. It wasn't at all crowded during the time of our visit and that sweetened their playtime. The kids helped themselves to the provided duplo and interactive digital games, and Jazz worked on the craft given to her upon entering the gallery. We sat, stoned and vegetated till they had to close at 5:30pm. I love it that we sat and watched them play with no rush. Just how perfect that makes a Sunday.

'Fun at sea' children's corner

And I thought that was a good way to end our day. Not till, we read about its outdoor playground on its rooftop. I knew we had to take a look. The view was breathtaking! We enjoyed the breeze and admired the horizon while the kids played. The only sign we knew we had to go was when our rumbling tummies signaled us to go. It was calling us for dinner!

What made it even reluctant for us to move was the appearance of a rainbow! It was just to hard to go. We tarried a little longer.

Zoomed out for the rainbow!

Nature is always therapeutic to the soul. We had a great time indoor and outdoor. Oh, it can get pretty cold in there, bring a cardigan along.

After which, we settled dinner at Santa Fe, a restaurant in a stationary ship just by the pier. It serves Mexican American food. Not too bad and kid's meal portion was huge. However, it wasn't too long that we could stay in there, I got sea sick! A very interesting dining experience in Singapore though.

Dinner on board!

I guess, a little of indulgence after a series of frugal Friday is quite guilt free. Have a great weekend ahead!

Singapore Maritime Gallery
Address: 31 Marina Coastal Drive, Marina South Pier, Singapore 018988.
Operating hours: 9am to 5:30pm (Closed on Mondays, except for public holidays)
Tel: 6325 5707
Nearest MRT: Marina South Pier, exit B 
FREE admission

This is part 10 of the Frugal Friday series:
Frugal Friday #1 - SAM
Frugal Friday #2 - SPM
Frugal Friday #3 - Reflections at Bukit Chandu  
Frugal Friday #4 - National Museum
Frugal Friday #5 - Paranakan Museum
Frugal Friday #6 - ACM
Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
Frugal Friday #7 - Army Museum
Frugal Friday #8 - Singapore Discovery Centre 
Frugal Friday #9 - NEWater Visitor Centre

Friday 24 July 2015

Frugal Friday #9 - NEWater Visitor Centre

It's been some busy days for me, but most glad to be back here on Frugal Friday! 

Since my childhood days, I've been widely educated that water is precious to its every drop. Each time, I spot the kids using water too liberally. I literally bleed. More can be done on water education.

It's not too strange, but we decided to visit the NEWater Visitor Centre. Before you get too excited and decide to navigate away, do note that any visit has to be pre-registered online. We did a walk in and got turned down on our first visit. The kind people there slotted us for a tour the very next day.  

Arrived! Then we realized we couldn't do walk in.

The Singapore Water Story has come a long way in terms of sustainability and research. Today, we have become the poster child for urban water efficiency and innovative water recycling technologies. Ensuring good water quality is always Singapore's top priority. Foreigners and tourists often raise their eyebrows when we tell them that water from our tap is extremely safe for consumption. I know it takes a huge leap of faith for them to even try.

I vividly remember when I had to do up an 'About Singapore' poster for our foreign friends at an International fair, in the states, I needed to share that water from our tap is safe for drinking. It was an applauding achievement, I felt.

Tap is now safe

As much as we fought for our water entitlement since the days of independence, we have always wanted to be self sustainable. The four national Taps that now provide water for all are:
  1. Water from local catchment
  2. Imported water
  3. Desalinated water
  4. NEWater
NEWater is nothing new to kids of our generation when it was first introduced in 2003. We had them most often seen at carnivals or events as a commonly sponsored drink. Think SG50 fun pack! When I first came across it many years ago, I've to admit it did take some loud thinking and courage to down the first sip. After all, we were talking about recycling used water. 

When our kids first had their experience with NEWater, my man did his 'educational' part of telling them, its 'poo' water! Gosh, please excuse that uncouth explanation. We definitely needed a better insight when talking to kids, and that explained our visit to the NEWater visitor centre.

On a serious note, I see pride in the development of NEWater. A major milestone, allowing us to reduce our dependence on weather for water. It's so true when we say everyone has a role and stake in water - a necessary resource, an economic asset and an environmental treasure.

The visitor centre had just undergone major renovation works and as of last week, major exhibits were not ready. Albeit a little disappointed, we want to be back for a more fruitful experience when the full scale exhibits are up. In addition, the tour we joined were more suited for older kids and grown ups. Though Js did not show signs of restlessness, Jare exited the tour, telling me that he didn't understand the message conveyed through the talks. Of course, there were also fun interactive moments during the tour.

Edutaining and entertaining

We were first welcome by a short video on the introduction and history of our water. After which, we migrated to another big spaced area for some hands on games and exhibits. We re-united as a group to know and hear more on the story of NEWater from our guide.

We walked through a mocked up DTSS (Deep Tunnel Sewerage System) tunnel. The concept of the DTSS is to use deep tunnel sewers to convey used water by gravity to centralise water reclamation plants (WRPs) located at the coastal areas. The used water is then treated and further purified into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water (NEWater), or discharged to the sea through the outfalls. As the word mentioned, it's deep. Deep down underground, ranging from 20m to 50m. Even deeper than the existing MRT tunnels. Pretty sure the Ninja turtles couldn't even get there. 

In the 'DTSS'

Last stop was the processes of further purifying the water to be safe for drinking. It's after this final stop that you will walk out with no more funny thoughts about NEWater. So then, help yourselves to the self-dispense NEWater sitting near the entrance.

Processes and a touch of the fibre membranes

Safe for drinking!

It was most glad to have stepped out of this place with a new perspective of NEWater. A truly rewarding tour which could be perfected when exhibits are up full scale. 

Information overloaded!

Preschoolers tour
The tour we did was more suited for older children. Having been told that they conduct preschool tours for schools on weekdays, I have liaised with the centre about opening a slot for a private group. They have kindly agreed a weekend slot for us, and yes, do email me if you're keen. If your kids have not been there with his or her preschool, it's a good opportunity for us, parents to join them on this fun and educational tour.

Date: 05 September 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 10am to 12pm 
Venue: 20 Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT station: Tanah Merah MRT (Exit A)
Bus services: 12, 24, 31 and 38
Age: 4 years old and above
Cost: FREE (Programme is supported by PUB)
Registration: Please email attending kids' names to: 

Tour details: 
Focuses on how everyone can conserve, value and enjoy water. Little visitors will learn about the 4 National Taps and that everyone plays a part in taking care of these water resources. Apart from the tour, there's also a rain garden workshop to teach participants more about filtration. In the rain garden workshop, little participants will learn how rain garden works and will build their own mini rain garden. Through this workshop that little participants will be making individually, they will learn more about filtration, through the different sized substrates. One of the processes in making NEWater.

To note:
  • This tour will only proceed if we have a minimum of 20 kids (Counting my both in too)! Registration will halt once we reach a maximum of 40 kids, base on first come first serve. 
  • And of course, if we have overwhelming response to form another group, I'll be more than glad to liaise a tour for another date. All for goodwill.  
  • Major exhibits are currently under renovation till end August. If renovation is not completed by its scheduled date, tour might be postponed. 
  • Good things are ought to be shared, there's no profit in grouping this tour. Mum's calling is not liable for any part of the tour.

Address: 20 Koh Sek Lim Road
Tel: 65467874
Opening hours: 9am to 5:30pm (Tuesdays to Sundays)
Pre-register tour here (No walk ins).

Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
For enquiries on NEWater Visitor Centre, please contact
Tel: 65467874
- See more at: tour for all.

This is part 9 of the Frugal Friday series:
Frugal Friday #1 - SAM
Frugal Friday #2 - SPM
Frugal Friday #3 - Reflections at Bukit Chandu  
Frugal Friday #4 - National Museum
Frugal Friday #5 - Paranakan Museum
Frugal Friday #6 - ACM
Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
Location: Koh Sek Lim Road
Nearest MRT Stations : Tanah Merah (Exit A)
Bus Services available : 12, 24, 31 & 38 - See more at:
Frugal Friday #7 - Army Museum
Frugal Friday #8 - Singapore Discovery Centre

Wednesday 15 July 2015

15 signs we're ready for P1!

And so we've been rather smooth with Jazz's primary school registration. There were just so much thoughts the moment we stepped out of her potential school. We knew things will be looking so different with this important milestone.

When I now take a step back and look at her, with that long hair laying over those slender shoulders, I knew she wasn't a baby or toddler anymore. Though I often live in denial by still calling her, baby.

Her poise, her actions and words have matured to a whole new level. Slowly and surely, she's growing to be the fine young lady I had imagined her to be. We gradually caught signs of our readiness for this formal education milestone:

1. We don't play too hard on Sundays anymore. We try to get home early on Sundays, retire early and get well rested for a refreshed start on Mondays. Good habit begins early.

2. When I raise my tone at her younger brother for some mess or tasks to be done, she intercepts swiftly to get it done for her brother. She's no longer just a bystander.

3. We realized there's so much more independent skills to learn. We started to train her on buying and paying for food and drinks, know her money sums, tell time and learn more diligently about toilet hygiene. There's so much more capabilities in her.

4. We found ourselves answering more questions with the answers, "Erm, I'm not sure." "No idea" "I don't know." She starts to challenge the intellect in us.

5. She initiates to teach and read to little brother whenever I ask for tutor replacement. Her patience  gets better than mine!

6. When we start praising her for some good acts, she doesn't smile beamingly at us anymore. Instead, she gives the 'isn't that what I'm suppose to do'  look. She better comprehends responsibility now.

7. She starts ransacking our drawers for evidence that the tooth fairy and Santa Claus were made up. She doesn't live in the world of bubbles anymore.

8. Keeping our fingers crossed, she loves the alarm clock. She doesn't snooze it.

9. We start to realize she's no more eating those small portion meals, but a bigger appetite now. I start to keep her weight in check. Eating right is a good habit from young.

10. We talk more about confidence, manners, empathy and kindness in a school setting. It's a bigger world out there.

11. We know too, she's ready to bid preschool farewell when she tunes in to Disney XD, instead of Disney Junior! Some days, she asks to watch my dramas too. Cartoons? A thing of her past.

12. When we brought her to see Barney live, she said, "It's too kiddy!" It's been some years Barney and her didn't keep in touch. Justin Bieber might be more exciting.

13. When I asked her dramatically if those dino figurines on the floor would bite.... she ignores me. "What!" Sometimes, I think I'm still talking to a 3 year old.

14. And seriously, did we have to stop visiting indoor playgrounds even though I've a 4 year old in tow? She's a little of an oversize for that. We look at play differently now.

15. And she's already asking if she can go back to preschool to visit her teachers. She must have discovered gratitude. 饮水思源 (when one drinks water, one must not forget where it comes from).

Always remember your root, no matter how high you soared

So, it's definitely of some research and a good age to start formal education tenderly at 7. I think we, the forward lookers, are almost mentally ready for the education journey ahead. Did she have to grow this fast?! Cuddle our cuddlies before they outgrow our arms. 

Did you spot such signs of school readiness too? Treasure the big and little moments in our family's everyday, before the schoolwork starts to consume our kids. In midst, don't forget about having fun together. A family that plays together, stays together!

Friday 10 July 2015

Frugal Friday #8 - Singapore Discovery Cente

Right after a visit to the Army museum last week, we swung over to the Singapore Discovery Centre. Just next to it. 

As the name spells for itself, it is a place to discover the journey of Singapore, its past, future, dreams and challenges, as well as your identity and calling as a Singaporean. A beautifully embellished and well designed place that introduces our nation, providing much for Singaporeans to think about and help us prepare for future challenges. 

We entered and was cosily welcomed into the So Singapore Theatre. We watched a short video on how the Merlion sang and rapped about Singapore and what it meant to be Singaporean, the common experiences we shared and the many things we took for granted as Singaporeans. We had a good laugh over this rather amusing clip, and yes, we do have some really funny things that make us so Singaporean.

Interestingly, I also realized we didn't really talk or introduce the Merlion as our icon to the kids. It was a good moment too, to introduce this hybrid creature to them.

A journey of discovery begins...

Fireworks galore!

There were 2 levels. The upper level was more on displays with some being interactive, while the lower level was interactive with the call to participate in motion, games and quizzes.

Puzzle solving

I felt extremely refreshed and reminded of my identity as a Singaporean as I walked through the exhibits. One particular exhibit struck a chord in me.

I like this hard truth that stated, no one owes us a living. In midst of challenges, Singapore sourced for ways to self survive after becoming independent. On the individual level, we are so often pampered that a new change or slight discomfort irks us much. We often think our government, authorities and environment have a big part to play in our well-being. In reality, we forgot to work hard and smart to stay afloat and ahead. Our future is much in our own hands, not others.

That being said, we are very blessed to be birthed in a beautiful city, we call home. I do hope Js will grow to be diligent sowers of their own lives.

On the upper level, we  had a go with the On-location reporter. We chose a story we wanted to report, read it off screen, tried as much as possible to position ourselves for the camera and reported off like a trained professional. It was all so fun, until... the playback didn't work on us. Boo! We couldn't review our professionalism. It was a fun and unusual experience though.

On location reporting

We proceeded down, where Jazz had a go on the digital dance studio where she tried out the different dances of the various races in Singapore. A great way to understand and appreciate more about the beauty of each other’s cultures through dance.

Little dancer

We explored the different galleries and had multiple go on the quizzes and games. Most of which are not to Js understanding, so we gave the answers and they answered on behalf.

We sat through a game show at Harmony Circle, with questions on Singapore culture. It was a fun way to find out how much we know about our country and her diverse spread of cultures. Get surprised by the things that you didn't know!

And so they introduced Ah Du being a construction worker before turning magically into a singer. 

Recognise the man on screen? The singer ah du!

Another quizzing moment on the Enterprise Quest, where you'll find the necessary traits of an entrepreneur! Do you have what it takes to be a boss?!!

Budding entrepreneurs!

We spent about an hour and a half in this very well kept and spacious place. However, the discovery journey might be more appropriate for older kids in primary school. Grown ups find it a good place too!

Do remember to pair this visit with the Army museum since its just a short distance away. Bring along too, a cardigan as the discovery journey is rather cold.

If you have time before or after, you can also catch a movie in there. It doesn't screen as may titles and timings as the cinemas, but a good selection like Minions and Jurassic World is now showing. Comes with additional fees of course. My man thinks this is Singapore's best kept secret, but I think many would have know of its 344-seater world class theatre. Fret not if your usual cinema tickets are sold out, check out the Singapore Discovery Centre for show schedules. Slighty cheaper too! 2D movies at $7 and 3D movies at $9. Singapore stories short films are free for all Singaporeans and PR.

Outside the theatre

Have fun exploring the Singapore Discovery Centre. It's endless exploration in there! If weather feels great, you may hop on the pedal boat ride at the outdoor lake. It's $2 for 15 minutes. Quite a frugal amount too.

Have a fun frugal weekend ahead!

Singapore Discovery Centre
Address: 510 Upper Jurong Rd, Singapore 638365
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
FREE admission for Singaporeans and PRs. 

This is part 8 of the Frugal Friday series:
Frugal Friday #1 - SAM
Frugal Friday #2 - SPM
Frugal Friday #3 - Reflections at Bukit Chandu  
Frugal Friday #4 - National Museum
Frugal Friday #5 - Paranakan Museum
Frugal Friday #6 - ACM
Frugal Friday #7 - Army Museum

Friday 3 July 2015

Frugal Friday #7 - Army Museum

It's SAF (Singapore Arm Forces) week! How about spending this weekend knowing more about the pride of our military forces?!! We marched into the Army Museum of Singapore (ARMS) to learn about the birth of our army, the making of a soldier, army operations and many others. 

The building set in the west, is a beautiful gem thoughtfully planned and designed to chronicle the experience of National Service. Its aesthetically pleasing building is also very much complemented by the serenity of a lake by the outside. 

The main entrance is interestingly designed on level 3, which brings visitors through the exhibits and exit at the lower level.

With my sleeping boy

Firstly, have some phototaking fun with 3D art.


Over sized on her

The galleries were arranged in a way that timeline us from the past to the current soldier days. We walk through the three generations of army exhibits. Though from a different era, they are connected by the common purpose in defending Singapore. I thought it wasn't too early to pr-empt Jare that he needs to serve the nation in due time too.

Into the orientation gallery, there was a simple mock up of the bus riot situation in 1955. Js were so amused by the overturned and over sized bus.

Mock up of a flipped bus

We went on to view how the bunk looked like in the past. Jare was convinced that he needed to sleep on his own and that he needs to be really neat and clean in order not to push the floor (We meant push ups). Seriously, I can't wait to see the difference army will make on him.

Yes, sir!

We then descended down to the level 2 galleries, where you should not miss the highlight of 2 short movies scheduled. The first show featuring "Life in an Army" made me a little emotional just by thinking that my son will grow to be a man some day, and that the army needs him. If you were an army boy of the past, can you recall who you called when you had only that short moment to make one phone call? I asked my son, and for now, he gave me the assurance that he would call me. I'm marking his words here. Ha. Once a Mother, always a Mother.

The second show, which is about 10 minutes later, was much more impressive. It showcased how well trained our troop was on the battle field. There were gun firing, helicopters, chasing enemies on sea and the war stuff which our men will know. I could only identify a fierce battle. The movie was well complemented with thundering sounds, lighting and motion (wind and smoke) effects. Really impressive! It can be rather loud, so visitors with infants might want to avoid. Admire too, the brilliant set up in the Object Theatre. Spot the retired tank, artillery and helicopter!

On the same level, just outside Object Theatre, you may want to get your hands on firing with the IMT (Individual Marksmanship Trainer) shooting gallery. Great way to showcase your marksmanship. Js were too little, so we skipped that.

Don't miss too, the short movie that will be played repeatedly at, Our People gallery. A lovely and emotional clip directed by Royston Tan, about a Dad and son going through the army at a different era. Albeit with many questions, Js enjoyed the clip very much.

We also curiously investigated this wall. There were 2, one at the orientation gallery, level 3 and the other at the Atrium, Level 2. It's not made up of tiles, cement, wall paper or textured paint. They're really interesting.... 

Short clip

It's creatively made of metal sheet melted from army's SM1 tanks. The term recycle is greatly exemplified. Great memorial too!

With the many takeaways, I thought we were done with the museum. But not, till we spotted the mini obstacle course and military hardware exhibit outdoor.

Under our command, Js were sent in for a good time of physical training with Daddy. The obstacle training course was built to a good size and height for young children. We had Jare to go on it before he encounters the real stuff. A good teaser of what our soldiers are going through.

Looking real easy for now

Oh, we didn't enlist Jazz into the army. She was giving Jare her moral support. It takes a family to support the enlistment of an army boy, you know. She's definitely gonna sign on extra for smiling too widely over training.

We then ended our journey with a stroll through the display of army vehicles. Walk fast if you don't want the mozzies to bite.

It was near sunset that we stayed on till, and sunset is one of the best natural light for pictures. Its outdoor was really great for photography. Seize the golden moment!

It was with greater knowledge about the army after we booking out from the museum. A great place too for Mothers, wives and girlfriends to know more about the army lingo in our man. 

And if you're visiting the Army museum, you should swing over the the Singapore Discovery Centre just next door. We'll be sharing that next Friday!

Have a fun frugal weekend!

Army Museum of Singapore
Address: 520 Upper Jurong Road S638367
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm daily (Except Mondays)

Free admissions for all Singaporeans and PR. Free parking too at Singapore Discovery Centre.

This is part 7 of the Frugal Friday series:
Frugal Friday #1 - SAM
Frugal Friday #2 - SPM
Frugal Friday #3 - Reflections at Bukit Chandu  
Frugal Friday #4 - National Museum
Frugal Friday #5 - Paranakan Museum
Frugal Friday #6 - ACM

Wednesday 1 July 2015

All schools are good schools?

Next week, we'll be embracing the milestone of registering Jazz for P1. For being an advantage point in phase 2A, we're pretty much cool about it. Though with a slight chance of being balloted out, I reckon it's a breezier phase than 2C.

We had very much wanted to apply in a 2B phase, but got turned down for applying to parent volunteer (PV) in a school within 2km, 2 years ago. 

I need to confess, I'm not very much close of a proximity to our 2A choice, but we aren't at 2 extreme ends of the Island too. It's not an easy decision, but I am probably not in sync with what government affirms that all schools are good schools. In my view, some schools are better.

So yeap, I've got an advantage to a school that's not too near, but looking very attractive. I know I've compromised distance, but I like the contained risk this phase gives us.

Then I will further confess, my alma mater is a girls' school. Jare will be another whole new challenge for us. We did make a little sound decision in here. Jazz doesn't do enrichment out of home, and doesn't have a strong foothold in academics. But I feel that my alma mater will give Jazz good opportunities to stretch her abilities in terms of academics and programmes.

I'm not sure if my alma mater is an elite school, but it is rather popular. I don't exactly know how parents define elite now, since MOE decided to stop announcing where top students came from.

In my alma mater, where I spent of big part of my childhood growing up, I've been very grateful to my then teachers and principal who made memorable footprints in my life. I know decades have past, and what needs to change has to change. I only hope Jazz will enjoy the best of her school days in there.

Work hard and play hard.

Most of our friends or stories we know aren't exactly calm about enrollment. If they aren't in the 2A phase, they are probably parent volunteering in schools, with a handful who joins clan and being a community leader, and several who would buy home near a potential school. The various ways that would give them a better footing to the school they set heart in. If all schools are affirmly good schools, this trend would dissolve.

Good on those who've got an attractive alma mater close to home and even more cool for those who eye a school nearby with no balloting history. We would love to be in an attractive school that's close to home as well. But set no heart within the schools near us, other than the school which rejected our PV. I didn't anticipate that. I ran out of time and was prompted to fall on plan 2A, the almost stress free phase that will save us from luck struggles. Vying for a seat in 2B or 2C isn't exactly like lucky draw, where it's easier to stay cool for not bagging anything.

I then begin to marvel at how MOE give tips on choosing a school base on:
  • Distance and
  • What programme your child is interested in?

Distance - Definitely a bonus if 2A is near my home. If not, even if there's an attractive school just next to me, do I get a good chance in? Distance is a definitely a good selection criteria, but it isn't gonna give you any good chance to the popular schools near you among many others within 1km. Staying within 1km is an advantage, but still, a risk of balloting. I will say, go for it, but manage expectations. I know how some people dislike playing with chances. PV together with the advantage of staying within 1km will definitely up their chances. 

Some areas, just don't have attractive schools within 1km. And if parents were to look beyond 1km, there's only diminishing hope. It's our unique identity when we say Singaporeans shift to get a better footing into primary schools.

And of course, if you are easy and alright with ANY schools near home, whether elite, popular, neighbourhood or new, your child will definitely get a placement not too far from home. Distance should then be your highest weight in selection. 

Or how about this? Prepare your battle early! To all couples tying the knot, buy a home near your alma mater (if you like that school) or a school you would want your future kids to be in. Before you know it, you're a parent of a 6 year old. Or you might need to do this, ask your partner which school they are from before getting attached.

Programmes - Oh, you know what, I think swimming in school A is excellent and badminton in school B is outstanding, but what? No good chance of entering at all! With most, no chance of being selected as a parent volunteer and some schools are phasing out the acceptance of volunteers too (I like this move). Looking at programmes slim my options after risk assessment and only brings me to the schools not within my options.

In reality, academics is what most parents are looking out for. And most times, our child make do with the CCA options in school, rather than choosing the niche a school offers, with no chance of getting in.

It's not exactly viable to fall on these criteria if you aren't exactly bo chap about school hunting, because they might fail you. But of course, these will be most useful tips for the choices of school you've selected without strong competition.

The hard truth at our P1 enrollment is that, multiple options aren't exactly on our hand. You want, but you can't, you volunteer, but not chosen or guaranteed. I will say, one's best bet would be the 2A phase. It looks like in generations to come, this phase will stay. And of course, if your school's at Jurong and you're staying at Pasir ris, it really is a serious matter for consideration. Or perhaps, shifting is an easier decision.

Some mention, go for open houses. Yes, do visit, if you think your options are highly possible with these schools. And if you've noticed, open houses rarely includes popular schools. That's one brilliant way to help skew parents to the least popular options.

Every family has different schooling decisions, what sounds comfortable to you, may sound insane to others. After all, we know our battles best. We know our risk tolerance at the different phases of registrations. Picture yourself into the various phases (which should usually fall into 2 categories, unless your alma mater is no more around) and checklist your most comfortable decision.

A big part helps when we learn to manage expectations. After calculating your risk level, how will you handle news of being balloted out? I may be in 2A, but I'm also preparing for a 2C phase if there's any balloting. Not one that I hope to activate, but I'm trying to manage expectation.

Unfortunately, that's how our system has shaped us on school enrollment. It's inevitable stress especially when you're not really alright with settling in ANY school. When I received news of my rejected PV 2 years ago. I felt a sudden lost!

The reality of preparing and enrolling our kids into a preferred primary school would be:
1. Send your PV request into various schools. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
2. In your PV form, you need to stand out from the many submitted. Input a unique skill or talent you think the school will benefit. That's what I've belatedly learnt about.
3. Assess your child. Will he survive the stress in elite schools? We know our child best.
4. What is your expectation of your child in an elite school and mediocre school? Being an average in an elite might send him topping in a mediocre school, and vice versa.
5. Settling in a decision that gives you peace and comfort.
6. Manage expectations. Know your battles once you've assessed the risk level in each phase.
7. If the school isn't exactly nearby, set a routine to buy more sleep! I'm looking to Mummy taxi Jazz in exchange for more sleep. It's by God's grace that we still have a car. Thankful too, that Singapore is indeed a little red dot.

Best of luck to all comrades sailing on the same P1 registration boat as us. I wish that you will get a choice of your desired school. In midst of stress, remember to enjoy the process too!